Currently working as Professor and Head in Dept. of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering, BMSIT&M, Dr. Seema Singh has overall 17 years of teaching experience and 10 years of research experience. She is the author of 30 publications in reputed International Journals and International/National Conferences and has been awarded for guiding best project of the year from KSCST in 2015.
Higher education is a very big step after graduation in a student’s life and plays a vital role in the careers of the aspirants and helps improve their skills in their relevant field. It helps the students to switch between fields and also involve in research. As a general trend, an international master’s degree is preferred by many of the Indian graduates.
Significant growth has been seen in the number of Indian students migrating to foreign destinations for their higher studies. And this growth is expected to increase over the years.
“There is a need to establish more institutions of higher learning allocate a larger share of the budget to quality research and overhaul the infrastructure of the current institutions”
Getting Into a Premier Institute in India Versus Abroad for Higher Education:
First, Indian entrance exams for higher education, GATE and CAT are the two popular entrance examinations for entry into the elite IISc, IITs, and IIMs for masters in management or masters in technology programs. These exams are tough to crack. For example the GATE examination, a student should have an in-depth understanding of all the subjects taught in engineering to score well. But what if the student is not interested in a particular subject? And what if the student is weak in a certain topic? He still has to slog, put a lot of effort in that subject just to do well in the exam.
Second, foreign institutions don’t base their admission decisions on the outcome of one examination. The GRE exam is comparatively a lot easier as compared to GATE or CAT. They take into account various different aspects of a student’s profile like project work, research experience, academic performance, extracurricular, relevant work experience, and social contribution. All these aspects are developed not in six months or one year, rather over a period of four to five years. This gives a student sufficient time to develop their profile to reflect their interest in the field.
The Focus of the Indian Education System versus Foreign Institutes, ‘The Gap’:
As far as the STEM education goes, Indian education systems seem to focus only on rote learning, for example, students learn various block diagrams, algorithms, and derivations but rarely do they implement them to the deeper extent. Engineering curriculum does have the infrastructure but the institute needs to take steps to ensure that there are different workshops or seminars where the students learn to use these vital tools that the rest of the world seems to be familiar with. Indian students seem to have a lack of knowledge and expertise, until and unless, they gain it with their personal interest, beyond the curriculum.
Majority of Indian universities do not explore the creative aspects of the concepts being learned, students are expected to write the answers in a certain way, approach a problem in a certain way. But hands-on, practical educations that are intended for the students to learn and grow are a very important aspect.
In foreign universities, some courses do not even have a final exam. Project-oriented courses would definitely help students to explore and research that will get them better equipped with the fundamentals of any course or concepts. It is not all about scoring good GPA marks or grades. The education system needs to change to get rid of the mindset that marks are the only thing that is important to strive and accomplish.
Infrastructure and Facilities:
The facilities that foreign institutions provide for the research and project work for a master’s study is enormous compared to the institutions in India. These institutions do charge a premium as fees but provide cutting edge labs and equipment. Top companies collaborate with the universities for research, thus providing students with vast exposure and experience, during the course of study, adding to their credit.
The Indian institutions can take a leaf from this book and hike the fees, but provide cutting edge facilities. If the return on Investment is excellent, no student will hesitate to pay for a high-quality education.
What leads students opting to study abroad is the plethora of opportunities available there after graduation. In the sector of high-end technology, Europe, USA, and other western countries are way ahead of the pack in terms of the quality of research, job and internship opportunities. Every graduate aspires to work on the latest cutting-edge technology and contribute to its development.
Innovative Steps need to be taken by the Government of India:
There is a need to establish more institutions of higher learning allocate a larger share of the budget to quality research and overhaul the infrastructure of the current institutions. Research and economic growth of a country go hand in hand and to become a superpower, India has to invest substantially more than a meager 0.8 percent of its GDP on R&D and Education system.
In summary, a change in the structure of the entrance exams, the admission criteria and providing cutting edge lab and research facilities will persuade Indian aspirants to pursue their graduate studies in India instead of migrating to foreign universities.